The Wonder Of Redemption
Let These Sayings Sink Down Into Your Ears
Elder Jeff Winfrey, Pastor
Dawson Springs Primitive Baptist Church
101 East Walnut Street
Dawson Springs, KY 42408
And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God.
But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples,
Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.
But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.
Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.
Perhaps these few words say more about the proper reaction that man should have toward the marvelous concept of redemption than any other single passage in the Bible. These people who had been with Jesus were amazed at the display of the mighty power of God in what they had just witnessed. And as they wondered at the miracle of that moment they began to remember all the things Jesus had lately done. Oh how amazed they must have been as they thought on Him and His mighty deeds!
But in the midst of their thoughts of wonder concerning this man, their reveries were interrupted with the Jesus-spoken words that express perhaps the most amazingly wonderful thing ever to be considered. Jesus knew their hearts and knew that they were amazed at all He had done. And at this point He makes the stirring statement, Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. When they surely thought that they had seen it all and must have felt that nothing could top what they had witnessed, Jesus tells them that the most amazing thing is yet to come. If they had truly realized that this Son of man was God Himself, and if they had understood that this deliverance into the hands of men was a deliverance to be crucified, then they surely would have been amazed beyond measure.
When we seriously consider the statement, for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men, it should literally knock us off our feet and put us on our faces before this Jesus who died for our redemption. The most amazing thing in the entire history of the world is the wonderful plan of God whereby He would redeem His people from their sins by sending His Son to pay for those sins. To think that the eternal God came into this world to die is beyond comprehension. If these sayings actually sink down into our ears, if the thought of Biblical redemption really soaks into our heads, if we actually are impacted by the amazing reality that Jesus did die for undeserving sinners, then we may come as close to true worship as is possible in this world.
But if we do not perceive the true concept of the man who was God, if we fail to understand that this Jesus who was God died, and if we do not grasp that He died for sinful men, then we like the men of that day will continue to argue over such things as which one of us is the greatest. But if these sayings might sink down into our ears, we are compelled to praise this wonderful Jesus!
“Amazed At The Mighty Power Of God”
Our text begins with the words, And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. As we consider this passage in a little more detail, let us look at the immediate event that had just occurred that so amazed the people. As the scene opens Jesus has descended from the mount where Peter, James and John saw Him shining brightly in the splendor of His heavenly glory. And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. (Mark 9:14-15) We might wonder why they were greatly amazed when they beheld Him. And perhaps the amazement can be attributed to a spreading fame because of His many mighty works. Or I wonder if perhaps Jesus still glowed with glory when He came down from the mountain. We can be reminded of Moses. When he came down from the mountain his face shined so brightly that it was necessary for him to wear a veil. I do wonder if Jesus’ face still had a little of the glorious glow about it, but maybe I sometimes read to much into the scriptures. But whether He glowed or not the passage tells us that when they beheld Him they were greatly amazed. To His glory they were greatly amazed simply at His appearance. But they soon became even more amazed, as they not only beheld Him, but also beheld what He was about to do.
Coming to the multitude he asked the scribes, What question ye with them? And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. (Mark 9:16-18)
When Jesus posed His question the scribes did not answer, but a father in the crowd spoke up with a desperate request. His son was possessed with an evil spirit and Jesus’ disciples had been unable to cast it out. This anguished father told Jesus how the spirit took the child and tore him so that he foamed, and gnashed his teeth, and pined away. And as the boy was brought to Jesus the evil spirit again tore him so that he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. Jesus asked the father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? The father answered, Of a child. He further lamented that ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him. Oh just think of this poor child and this desperate father. Perhaps the child is scarred from the fire and so would be the father’s arms from often saving the child from the flames. This sad father finally begged of Jesus, But if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us. And help us. (Mark 9:20-22)
Now before we continue with this great story of healing, let us pause briefly to consider the words in this father’s request. I surely do not mean to be critical of this man in his misery, but we may be able to learn something from his prayer. It is interesting to note that this request is much different than the request of a previous leper that had beseeched Jesus. And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. (Mark 1:40) The father said, “If thou canst.” The leper said, “If thou wilt.” The leper knew Jesus could. He said, “thou canst make me clean.” He had no doubts that Jesus could, though he was uncertain if Jesus would. But it seems from his words that this disheartened father doubted if Jesus could. A lack of ability is never a problem with God. God always has plenty of ‘can do’. But God also has a sovereign will and this perfect will of God sometimes leads God not to do what He can do. There is a much-needed lesson here concerning unanswered prayer. The problem is never that God is unable to do something that He would like to do. But though God is never short on ability, He is sometimes unwilling to grant our requests. These words at first may seem harsh, especially when we are as desperate as this father was at this time. But God in His wisdom knows what is best and He sometimes limits His ‘can’ by His will. Oftentimes perhaps only God knows the reason for His unwillingness, but the reason is never a lack of ability. And we can always be assured that the God that loved us enough to send His Son will never forget us or forsake us even though He sometimes does not grant all our requests. And so the leper made a much better request when he said, “If thou wilt,” than the father did when he said, “If thou canst.”
And it may be that this was the point Jesus was teaching the father with His words of response. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that beleiveth. To these words the father immediately cried out with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (Mark 9:23-24) In this confession the father admitted that he could not believe strongly enough to save the child. And this is the true case of anyone who might think that his belief is enough to bring deliverance to eternal salvation. Surely we do believe, but we must recognize that our belief is at best weak belief. Can we really trust our salvation to a faith that is so often composed of more unbelief than belief? When we realize our true situation, we must admit that we have no faith in our faith. There is a great distinction in trusting in faith and trusting in the Lord. And in our recognition of our weakness, even the weakness of our weak faith, we like this father cry for the Lord’s help. At the confession of our unbelief we have admitted what this father came to see. Even with all the faith that we might muster, we cannot save ourselves. And instead of having faith in our faith to save us, we realize that if we are to be delivered our Lord will have to do it. But as we admit that we cannot, Jesus declares that He can. This father with tears admitted that he could not. Jesus in His power proved that He could. And in His mercy He showed that He would. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father. (Luke 9:42)
At this point we are back to our text. And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. And surely they must have been. Can you imagine what it would have been like if you had been there? Just think about seeing that poor child foaming and wallowing and then to look at him, healed and handed to his father. Can you see the smiles on their happy faces? Can you feel the joy that flows from their relieved hearts? Imagine that father’s fire scarred arms that had saved that child so many times. And to see those arms now squeezing that healed son would make a person want to shout with joy. And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God!
“They Wondered Every One At All Things Which Jesus Did”
And they were amazed at the mighty power of God. We see them standing there with their mouths open and their eyes bugged out at what they had just seen. And then we are allowed to enter into their minds and understand that they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did. Every one of them in a state of awe. Every one of them considering all things which Jesus did. And as we think about them wondering, we might begin to wonder. We might wonder about what they were wondering about. Surely they had seen many amazing things in recent days.
Perhaps some in the crowd had been at His baptizing. Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. (Luke 3:21-22) Oh what if you had been there that day! And perhaps some of these had been there. Maybe some wondered at the recollection of that glorious day. To have physically seen the Holy Spirit, to have audibly heard the voice of the Father, to have witnessed the baptism of the Son of God, it is no wonder that they were filled with wonder.
Maybe some had been on the scene the day that they had tried to kill him. But he passing through the midst of them went his way. (Luke 4:30) Could you ever forget the looks on those faces when they thought they had him and suddenly He was not to be seen anywhere? Just think of their confusion when He suddenly disappeared. Every man probably blamed another. ‘But I thought you had Him!’ ‘No you were the one who had Him!’ And they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did.
Some may have remembered and wondered at His words of teaching. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power. (Luke 4:32) And some may have been amazed as they thought of His words of power. And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. (Luke 4:36) And others may have marveled as they recollected and contemplated His words of healing. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. (Luke 4:39)
Peter and many others had been astonished at the great catch of fish. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken. (Luke 5:8-9) Perhaps some remembered these fish and wondered at this thing that Jesus had done.
We are told that His fame had spread at the healing of the leper. But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. (Luke 5:15) Maybe some remembered those sad words of desperation, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. Perhaps they remembered the shock of seeing Jesus put forth His hand and touch this untouchable man that pictured the uncleanness of sin. Maybe they recalled those sweet words, I will: be thou clean. How could you forget the picture of health in what had been a ravished leprous body? Maybe some wondered at this thing that Jesus had done.
And at the healing of the one sick of the palsy that had been lowered down through the roof the Bible declares. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. (Luke 5:26) Surely they had seen strange things that day. They had seen a roof removed, a man let down by friends, an argument about forgiveness of sins, and a man walk out that had been dropped in. Whew, what a day! They really had seen strange things that day. And some might have remembered that day and wondered at that thing that Jesus had done.
How about when Jesus raised the dead? I reckon that was something to wonder about! Some might have been with Him when He stopped the procession headed to the cemetery with the words, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. (Luke 7:14) Or perhaps some had been in the group that laughed Jesus to scorn when He said concerning Jairus’ daughter, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. (Luke 8:52) But the laughing was over and the amazement began when they saw that little girl come out of that room and begin to eat a meal. And the funeral procession stopped and the wondering began when that son of that widow got out of that bier. Surely those that had seen these things wondered at these things that Jesus did.
Some may have wondered at His words about turning the other cheek. (Luke 6:29) Some may have wondered at His response to John’s disciples. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. (Luke 7:22) Some may have wondered at the sinful woman that had washed His feet and His words concerning forgiveness and love. (Luke 7:36-50) Some may have wondered at the parable of the sower. (Luke 8:4-8) Some may have wondered at the obedience of the wind and the waves. (Luke 8:22-25) Some may have wondered at the healing of that wild Gadarene. (Luke 8:26-40) Some may have wondered at the healing of the woman with the twelve-year issue of blood. (Luke 8:43-48) Some may have wondered at the feeding of the five thousand. (Luke 9:12-17)
Indeed there were many recent things to ponder. There was much to cause wonder. There was plenty to bring amazement. There was no lack of excitement in the days that had just passed. From the smiling child in their midst to the many recollections of their minds they were reminded of the wonders that followed this amazing man. They were amazed at the mighty power of God. And moreover, they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did!
“Let These Sayings Sink Down Into Your Ears: For The Son Of Man Shall Be Delivered Into The Hands Of Men”
Redemption is the most amazing thing in all history. Redemption is the most wonderful thing in all the earth. Redemption is the most glorious thing about an all-glorious God. When it sinks down into your ears there is nothing that compares with God’s plan of redemption. The thought of the Son of God giving His life can only be equaled by the thought of the heavenly Father giving His Son. And no other thought can compare to either.
As they were amazed at the mighty power of God, and as they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, Jesus told them to think on the idea of redemption. If you really want something to wonder about, try wondering about redemption. If you want to know the most amazing thing of all things, ponder the thought that Jesus went to a cross to redeem sinners.
The idea that God the Father would send His Son to save one such as me throws me into a fit of wonder. Listen to these words:
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law (Galatians 4:4-5) [Emphasis added.]
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. (Isaiah 9:6) [Emphasis added.}
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. (John 3:16) [Emphasis added.]
Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. (Luke 20:13) [Emphasis added.]
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all. (Romans 8:32 [Emphasis added])
And the idea that the Son would be willing to give His life in order to save one such as me causes me to spiral further into these thoughts of awe. Listen to these words:
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28) [Emphasis added.]
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) [Emphasis added]
No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. John 10:18) [Emphasis added]
Surely we will never fully comprehend the wonders of a plan of redemption whereby God would send God to die for worthless sinners. Truly we should be brought to the greatest heights of amazement by the thought that Jesus allowed Himself to be delivered into the hands of men. What a great love the Father has for His children! And what a great love the Savior has for sinners! How can we not be overwhelmed by such a love? In the words of the hymn writer:
What wondrous love is this,
Oh my soul, oh my soul.
What wondrous love is this, Oh my soul.
What wondrous love is this,
That caused the Lord of bliss,
To bear the dreadful curse,
For my soul, For my soul.
So that when we think about such a love as this, we are very much overwhelmed. When it sinks down into our ears, it brings us to our knees. When it soaks into our heads, it stirs the depths of our hearts. The thought of redemption humbles us like nothing else and magnifies God like none other. Finally, listen to these words:
And when I think, that God His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in.
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sins.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee,
How great thou art!
How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee,
How great thou art!
How great thou art!
There is no greater thing to wonder at than the redemption Jesus spoke of when He said to those amazed and wondering people these words. Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. May our ears be opened and our hearts attuned to the wonder of salvation and the glory of redemption.
“But They Understood Not”
But they understood not this saying. These are such sad words. In the midst of their amazement at the mighty power of God and while they were wondering at all things which Jesus did, they were presented with the most wonderful thing of all, even the sacrifice of the Savior for sinners. And they understood not this saying.
Perhaps these people had an excuse. Maybe they did not yet realize the wonder of a Savior hanging on a bloody cross. But surely we by faith can see that dear suffering Savior writhing in anguish. Surely we must know the meaning in the words, the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.
Yet I fear that in the real sense of things we, as they, have understood not. It just seems that the wonder of it never really soaks in. It appears that we just do not grasp the whole idea. How often it is that we seem to not understand the glory of salvation. How terrible it is that we so often have such hard heads that God on a cross does not amaze us. How sad to think that we may be near-sighted and forget what was involved in the purging of our sins. We are in a most pathetic case if we have ceased to be amazed by the wonder and the glory of grace.
I may think that others have forgotten the wonder of the cross, ‘But not me, Lord.’ I may look upon the world with disdain and fail to hear the prophet’s words, Thou art the man! I may say as Peter, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. But what is my true case?
We can tell if we are remembering the wonders of Jesus’ redemption by how we act in the world in which we live. We can gauge our awe of Him by how we react to others in our lives. When these people in the passage understood not this saying something sadder than a lack of understanding followed. Failing to be awed by the idea of redemption, then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be the greatest. What a turn-around! They went from contemplating the mighty power of God and wondering at all things which Jesus did, to a self-centered ego trip of trying to one-up each other.
If we are hung up on self and concerned about who is the greatest among us, then redemption has not sunk down into our ears. If our personal feelings are our chief concerns, then it is certain that our heads have not comprehended the glorious impact of redemption. If we are filled with strife, and pride and ego it is proof that we have failed to from the heart understand redemption.
But if nothing on earth matters but praising Him, then we are being moved by the right thinking. If all things in our lives are insignificant compared to pleasing Him, then we surely have our hearts full of the life-changing understanding of redemption.
Lord, have mercy on me for I so often deny you the glory you deserve! Oh but if I can continually see You on the cross, if I can at all times hear Your groans for me, if I can forever sense the wonder of Your salvation, then I can rise above my ego and be made to wonder at You. When redemption really sinks down into my ears, I bow at Your cross and wonder at You!!